In the Immortal Words of Jim Morrison, “The Midwest Is the Best”
Well, actually it was “the west is the best”, but I’m sure Mr. Morrison wouldn’t mind this slight alteration. Anyway, evidence continues to accumulate that Democrats will do exceptionally well in the midwest this year. From an excellent Perry Bacon Jr. article on 538:
“During the Obama years, Republicans won total control of the state government in Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin. Then, on Election Day in 2016, Hillary Clinton narrowly lost in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — states Democrats had won at the presidential level for more than two decades. She was easily defeated in Iowa and Ohio, which had tended to be close.2 Clinton barely won in Minnesota, another state where Democrats are usually strong. Post-election, there was a lot of doom and gloom about the Democratic Party’s prospects in the Midwest, with both nonpartisan analysts and even some party strategists suggesting the party needed a dramatic overhaul or risk losing in this region, which will be packed with white, working-class voters, for the foreseeable future.
Never mind all that now. Democrats are looking strong in the Midwest — it is by some measures the region where they are likely to make their biggest gains this November.”
Why the comeback? Bacon lists several reasons but surely this is one of them most important and one to which Democrats should be paying close attention:
“[N[ational polls suggest that white voters without college degrees favor Republicans in 2018, but the margin between the two parties is likely to narrow compared to 2016, when Clinton lost that bloc by more than 30 percentage points. That shift has outsized influence in the Midwest, which has higher populations of white voters without college degrees than many other parts of the country. So the Democrats’ problem with white working-class voters may not be as severe as it looked on Election Day 2016 — which perhaps had more to do with the conditions in that election than the party overall. What we are seeing in 2018 suggests that working-class whites are not a single national bloc, but still vote much differently by state and region. Working-class whites in Southern states like Georgia and Texas are overwhelmingly opposed to Democratic candidates in key races this year, but they are less GOP-leaning in Midwest states like Ohio and Wisconsin.”
Also, women voters are likely to play a huge role in Democratic breakthroughs, if they come. Jim Grossfeld has an excellent, detailed article up on The American Prospect site about women candidates and voters in Michigan. It is indeed a heartening tale.
“[W]omen make up two-thirds of the Democratic challengers in races for the Republican dominated Michigan House, where Republicans currently outnumber Democrats 110 to 63, and women hold only 33 seats. Women also won just under half of the Democratic nominations for the state Senate, where Republicans now hold a 27-to-11 super-majority. There, men outnumber women by a staggering 34 to four. More than half of the Democrats running for Michigan’s U.S. House seats are women, too.
And at the top of the ticket, the Democratic nominees for the four principal statewide offices are all women: Gretchen Whitmer for governor, Dana Nessel for attorney general, Jocelyn Benson for secretary of state, and incumbent U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow.”